View Full Version : Build sheetmetal roller

12-26-2006, 08:38 PM
Hello all,

I'm trying to find some plans for building a sheetmetal roller, specifically to roll cones. Any help here would be appreciated.

Thanks Larry

Tin Falcon
12-26-2006, 09:45 PM
Larry here is a web site with plans


And a book

IIFC a full cone would have to be hand formed a slip roll will do a diameter down to 3x the roller diameter. if you tighten one end more than the other as you roll you will get a partial cone shape but the end will not close.
Hope this helps

12-26-2006, 11:52 PM
Only 3x? Must depend on the design. I can wrap steel around my top roller.

There was a Pexto cone roller on ebay a week or two ago. It looked like a 12-14". A pretty rare piece of equipment. Don't know what it went for but the last time I looked at it, it was over $1,000. You'd have to roll a lot of horn bells to pay for that!

12-27-2006, 12:31 AM
I used to be the engineer for Webb Corporation in Webb City, MO they had years before aquired the Reed rolling equipment and one of the Reed products was a cone roller, used by the military. There were records of only five of these built. They rolled a cone to a sharp point and up to about 36'' length with the set of dies that I played with. Dies were 12" dia. at the back and 1/8" dia. at the end by 36" long. The dies were on independantly adjustable shafts (both ends of each shaft had a drive to adjust with about 3 feet of travel). This allowed a multitude of die configurations and angles. These were very large machines appox 8' wide and 12' tall. A much smaller scale machine could be built for light metal and would not have to be nearly as capable. Very loose fitting pinions could be used to drive and time two of the rolls and the third be an idler in roller bearings. (Bushings have too much resistance without being driven to allow the material to be pulled through.) The Reed machines were Pyramid style like an equilateral triangle. I would suggest the top and bottom rolls being vertically placed with a rear roll to do the forming being placed in ways that angle in at about 30 degrees toward the vertical as they get closer to the pinch rolls. If more interest exists I could help more.

12-27-2006, 12:38 AM
yeah, I can pretty much roll it around the top roller on mine as well. the link is for a pinch roller, as is mine, which imo is better than the pyramid rollers. find I can just about eliminate the flat spot by alternating the side of the sheet that starts. its based on an article awhile ago in model engineers workshop, but there is not much to them - here's some shots including details of the detachable side. it works very well and is also handy for flattening sheet metal that might be slightly bent, but if you took the amount of use divided by effort & materials, it would rank at the bottom of all my shop projects.

I've done cones on a 1" round bar sticking out of the side of a vice, albeit not a closed cone, more a funnel shape.

how heavy is the material you are working?


12-27-2006, 04:31 AM
There was some discussion about the rolls for sale on Ebay on the Sheetmetalshop.com website too. Iirc, somebody searched Bud's Pexto catalogue he has in the on-line library and there was no mention of it. It must not be a very common tool. I looked in the old Brown-Boggs cat. downloaded from the same site, no mention of cone rolls.
I sometimes roll cone shapes for reducers on my pinch or slip rolls & then adjust with snips...(called "trimulation").
It would be interesting to see the large Reed cone rolls. Pictures ? What did they use these for ? Sheet metal or plate work ? Aircraft or missile components ? Radar or microwave antenna parts ?

Tin Falcon
12-27-2006, 01:41 PM
Only 3x? Must depend on the design. I can wrap steel around my top roller.

Ken I stand corrected. I double checked MY AF traning manual . Under power slip rolls is says at max capacity ,thickness and length. you should not do smaller than 2x the top roll diameter . That implies thinner and narrower material are ok to roll smaller. Also with a manaul powered one the operator can feel how much force is required. The 1942 Aircaft sheetmetal book I have simply states the size of the roll is limeted by top roller diameter.
I did not know cone rollers existed so as I eat the humble pie I learn.

12-27-2006, 03:37 PM
Here's the ebay link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220059530511
I knew I wasn't seeing things. I had to go find it again. It went for $1475. It turns out to be a 10", not 12-14" as I thought previously.


12-27-2006, 03:56 PM
I had a chance to buy a Pexto cone roller for $75.

It's been a while, but as I recall it was very similar to the ebay version. The thing that made me pass on it was the capacity being limited to a 24 or 26ga. In other words, they're relatively light duty, made for funnels, etc.

By the time I realized it was somewhat of a collectible the seller had decided to keep it.

12-30-2006, 04:42 PM
I don't know how to get the picture out of their sale bill but I found this one in a PMI auction at ITT in Kenosha on Dec. 5. It is about half way down the first page on the left. If someone can get the picture of it posted it would be appreciated.

12-30-2006, 04:58 PM
KDuffy is this the one


12-30-2006, 06:20 PM
Thanks. How did you get it out of the brochure file? That might be handy to know next time.

I knew of a rusty yellow one in NY at the back of a machinery dealers lot, and a grey one in Springfield, MO that we sold when I was at Webb, after rebuilding a few things, and now that one. Records only showed original owners. Most were lost track of as they were retired by original owners.

Tricky things to operate, 9 reversing motors (luckliy 3 drive motors ran together). The boss and I went to intall the machine and played all day trying to get things right. Finally a roll operator that had been bumping cones on a press brake came over and made the first part useable and the second through the next months worth before he stopped. Simply amazing the skill required to make it look that easy.